A Book of Better Things - A Better Revelation

Sermon Summary

This message looks at how God has given us revelation of Himself to us in various ways. God spoke through the prophets many years ago and the wrote down the things He inspired them to write. Thus we have the written revelation of God to man. In that written revelation we have an explanation of how God has also given us natural revelation to us through the creation around us. It has been evident to humankind in pretty much all cultures that creation suggest a Creator. The complexity and organization of nature in such a way that sustains life leads many to believe there is a God. However, this natural revelation as well as the written revelation of the Old Testament is incomplete in that it did not fully show us a picture of God's personality or His deep love and concern for humanity. Therefore, God gave us a living revelation of Himself to us in His Son Jesus Christ, the better revelation. This message explains why Jesus was a better revelation of God to us!

Community Group Discussion Guide

1. What are some of the ways in which God has spoken to you through the natural world around you?

Psa 148:1  Praise the LORD. Praise the LORD from the heavens, praise him in the heights above.
Psa 148:2  Praise him, all his angels, praise him, all his heavenly hosts.
Psa 148:3  Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars.
Psa 148:4  Praise him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skies.
Psa 148:5  Let them praise the name of the LORD, for he commanded and they were created.
Psa 148:6  He set them in place for ever and ever; he gave a decree that will never pass away.
Psa 148:7  Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,
Psa 148:8  lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do his bidding,
Psa 148:9  you mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars,
Psa 148:10  wild animals and all cattle, small creatures and flying birds,
Psa 148:11  kings of the earth and all nations, you princes and all rulers on earth,
Psa 148:12  young men and maidens, old men and children.
Psa 148:13  Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.
Psa 148:14  He has raised up for his people a horn, the praise of all his saints, of Israel, the people close to his heart. Praise the LORD.

2. God gave us the written revelation of the Old Testament through the prophets and much of that revelation pointed to Jesus the Messiah who would be the living revelation of God! Is there a particular Old Testament passage that especially speaks to your heart and reveals God to you in a special way? What would that passage be and what specifically about God does it reveal to you? The following verse is one of Pastor Larry's favorite and reveals to him the heart of God towards us.

Isa 40:11  He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.

3. God revealed ten basic principles for living life to Moses. Why do you think it's so hard for us to keep just ten simple commands and how does Jesus, the living revelation of God, help us with this dilemma?

Rom 3:20  Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.
Rom 3:21  But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.
Rom 3:22  This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference,
Rom 3:23  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Rom 3:24  and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
Rom 3:25  God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood...

4. Jesus not only gave His life as a sacrifice for our sin, but He also lived His life in such a way as to be a wonderful example of how we should live our lives. Name at least one thing you remember about Jesus' life that is a living revelation to you of how you should live your life?

John 1:17  For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
John 1:18  No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known.

Full Sermon Notes

A Book of Better Things "A Better Revelation"

"We're standing in the presence of Your Majesty!" What an awesome and humbling thing! The fact that God desires to be in our presence and allows us to be in His presence is beautiful to me. Here's a beautiful truth: God speaks to us if we will listen. Let's go to the Lord and ask Him to speak to our hearts and minds as we begin this new series on the book of Hebrews. A book of better things! Pray!

A few weeks ago I was praying about what our new series would be. I thought about some verses in the book of Hebrews. I began reading them and then looked back at the introduction to the book of Hebrews in my Bible. In that introduction the book of Hebrews was described as a "book of better things!" I was curious. I read 12 of the 13 chapters to see if I could see this theme and I did! And not only did I see that theme so clearly, it also is a very wonderful follow up to our series we just finished, "The People Walking in Darkness Have Seen a Great Light! The book of Hebrews describes that great light in powerful detail as it talks about Jesus The Messiah bringing a better revelation, a better salvation, a better mediation, a better justification, a better communication, a better everything when it comes to our relationship to our Creator God! I believe you will see this plainly in the coming weeks. And one of the beautiful things is how this effects our lives practically which I'll show you!

I want to give you just a little background to the Book of Hebrews. First of all, it has been debated down through the years whether it was a letter or a sermon. It doesn't have some of the normal characteristics of a New Testament letter. For one thing, it lacks the personal things that would help pinpoint who wrote it and exactly who it was written to. At one time the letter was attributed to Paul, but the style and language use is so dissimilar to Paul's other writings as to rule him out. Whoever wrote it did such a wonderful job as to be considered the Isaiah of the New Testament!

I believe it is more important to know the writer's purpose than his identity. Some think it was originally a sermon to Palestinian believers and then later sent as a letter to the believers in Rome. Some believe it was written mainly to Jewish believers or seekers because of it's extensive use of Old Testament references and that they were being encouraged to come out of their legalism and fully embrace Christ in a New Covenant. However, others believe it was mainly written to Gentile believers and seekers to make a full break with their former culture and religion of paganism.

Either way, I believe Hebrews was written to show both Jew and Gentile that Jesus was a better way for both! A sermon, a letter, that became a book of better things! It was written during a time of intense persecution, and some were disillusioned because they thought Jesus' return would be in their life time. Others had begun to compromise with the pagan society around them. The preacher of this amazing sermon we know as the book of Hebrews very eloquently spoke out against religious activity that had become mere ritual! He warned people not to  become so familiar and complacent with spiritual things as to loose their passion for God and the things of God. The writer of the book of Hebrews challenged the people to once again allow the gospel to change them! With this in mind, let's go to our text and see how the book of Hebrews is a book of better things in regards to the revelation of God...

Heb 1:1  In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways,
Heb 1:2  but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.
Heb 1:3  The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.
Heb 1:4  So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.

These first four verses of chapter one are some of the most powerful and beautiful in all of the New Testament! In these four verses we discover some amazing spiritual truths concerning God's revelation to us.

God Spoke Through the Prophets

Heb 1:1  In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways,

God used the prophets in the Old Testament to reveal to us things about God and from God! It was through the Old Testament prophet Moses that we were given the 10 Commandments which still serve as a moral and ethical foundation for many societies today.

Exo 34:27  Then the LORD said to Moses, "Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel."
Exo 34:28  Moses was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant--the Ten Commandments.

The commandments were basic things like, Don't Murder, Don't Covet another person's property, Don't commit adultery, Don't lie, Honor your father and mother, Don't take the name of the Lord in vain, remember the sabbath day to keep it holy, Don't have any other God's before me, Don't steal, Don't worship idols. But here's the problem…We couldn't even keep 10 commandments. They became the law and showed us just how weak natured and lost we are. We needed more than just a list of do's and don'ts, we needed help! The law wasn't bad, but we needed a better way to get right with God! More on this in a minute. Let's look at another prophet. It was through David that we have some of the best teaching on how God used natural revelation to speak to us in addition to and along side of the law...

Psa 19:1  For the director of music. A psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Psa 19:2  Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.
Psa 19:3  There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.
Psa 19:4  Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun,
Psa 19:5  which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
Psa 19:6  It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat.

It was through other prophets that God revealed Himself to humanity…Through Amos God revealed His will concerning Justice. Through Isaiah God revealed His holiness. Through Jonah God revealed His desire to reach the pagan. Through Hosea God revealed His amazing love and willingness to forgive a person who has been unfaithful to Him. And the list goes on and on. Here's the problem. The law only highlighted our weakness and inability to keep the law. The natural revelation only revealed to us there is a Supreme Being and amazing Creator. But it did nothing to let us know of His love and care for us! In fact it left people back in the day, scared and fearful of God because it did not allow for a personal relationship with God. The prophets held out God's ideals for His people, like justice, forgiveness, mercy and love, but gave us no power to actually implement these principles. So we were in a huge dilemma. But verse two of Hebrews tells us what God did to remedy this major problem...

God Spoke Through the Son

Heb 1:2  but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.

We've talked about this in the last few weeks, but here it is again. God sent His Son to speak to us! God had revealed some of His glory to us in nature. God had revealed much of His glory through Moses, the Ten Commandments and through many other prophets who wrote down inspired Holy Scripture. However, we needed more and God gave us the more we needed in Jesus!

Check this out...

John 1:14  The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:15  John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.'"
John 1:16  From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.
John 1:17  For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
John 1:18  No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known.

This is so powerful! This is one of the reasons I want to share Jesus with the world and with people of other religions and with people who have no religion. Why? Because, while there are some good things in other religions, and some good moral and ethical teachings in other religions, there's still the one big problem! Man is sinful by nature and without the personal help of a personal God we fall short. In fact God's Word puts it this way...

Rom 3:23  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Without the mercy, grace, forgiveness and strength of a loving and Holy God religion becomes a heavy burden to bare and very few are willing to bare that kind of burden so we see people give up on religion. But the good news that is revealed through Jesus, God in the flesh is found in the context of Romans 3:23. Let's look at Romans 3:20-25a...

Rom 3:20  Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.
Rom 3:21  But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.
Rom 3:22  This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference,
Rom 3:23  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Rom 3:24  and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
Rom 3:25  God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood...


We're going to talk more about that next week when we talk about "A Better Salvation!"
But there's so much more to understand about Jesus being a better revelation and how what He reveals to us concerning God actually helps us practically in our day to day living.

God Still Speaks Through the Son

Heb 1:3  The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.

Did you notice the tense of this verse?

Heb 1:3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory...

God's glory radiates through His Son and if Jesus lives in your heart and life then God's glory is there. Here's the question…Are you aware of the glory of God in your heart? Are you allowing that Glory through Jesus to reveal God's love, His mercy, His forgiveness, His power and His will for your life? Are you allowing that glory to radiate out into your life? Can others see Jesus in you?

2 Cor 4:6  For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
2 Cor 4:7  But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

"To show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us!" Let's look at our text again, because we need to see this. God is still speaking to us through His Son and this is so practical for each of us and more important than you could ever imagine...

Heb 1:3  The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word...

Jesus is the exact representation of His being and as such, He is able to sustain you by His powerful word! So it's not your power, your strength, your resources or your wisdom, but God's better revelation through His Son Jesus shining God's glory into your heart and mind through His powerful word! God wants to reveal His heart to you, but He won't force you to see it or hear it or follow it! But if you allow Jesus to be God's special revelation to you then He will sustain you by His powerful Word. Peter put it this way...

1 Pet 1:23  For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.
1 Pet 1:24  For, "All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall,
1 Pet 1:25  but the word of the Lord stands forever." And this is the word that was preached to you.

Now, I love the next part of the verse of our text...

Heb 1:3  ...After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

After Jesus lived His life here on earth to reveal to us The Father and then provided purification for our sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Father. Ever wondered what Jesus' responsibility is at the right hand of the Father?

Rom 8:33  Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.
Rom 8:34  Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died--more than that, who was raised to life--is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.

Jesus is praying for you and for me! He not only revealed God to us when He was here on earth, but He still reveals God to us through God's Word the Bible, and through His Holy Spirit who lives in us and He is at the right hand of the Father praying for us! I don't know about you, but that brings me a ton of comfort and sustains me on my worst day and every day! Because Jesus was willing to leave the comfort of heaven and come to this earth to be the ultimate revelation of God to humanity, God has given Him the place of honor in heaven. I'll close with the writer of Hebrews description of this...

Heb 1:4  So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.
Heb 1:5  For to which of the angels did God ever say, "You are my Son; today I have become your Father " ? Or again, "I will be his Father, and he will be my Son"?
Heb 1:6  And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, "Let all God's angels worship him."
Heb 1:7  In speaking of the angels he says, "He makes his angels winds, his servants flames of fire."
Heb 1:8  But about the Son he says, "Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom.
Heb 1:9  You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy."
Heb 1:10  He also says, "In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.
Heb 1:11  They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment.
Heb 1:12  You will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed. But you remain the same, and your years will never end."
Heb 1:13  To which of the angels did God ever say, "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet"?
Heb 1:14  Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?

And that greater salvation is what we will talk about next week, but today, we are going to end our service with two opportunities. One is an invitation to receive Jesus as your Savior. If you have never asked Him to forgive you of your sins, and to come into your life, then today is your day. I will be here along with several of our staff to pray with you. Secondly, if you have accepted Jesus as your Savior, then we invite you to make your way to one of the tables located at the front and back of the room. Take a moment to reflect on the sacrifice Jesus made for you in order to reveal God's love and forgiveness to you. Take the bread and remember the broken body of Jesus, broken so that you could be healed of your sins. Then take the juice and remember the precious blood of Jesus that was spilled in order to wash away the guilt and stain of your sins. Let's pray!